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Arif Naseem Khan seeks judicial probe into wakf land scam

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Congress leader Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan sought a judicial probe into the alleged scams in wakf lands at Lalbaug in Mumbai and Nashik.

Khan, former Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister, while speaking to reporters at the Vidhan Bhavan (state Legislature House), questioned how the Rs. 2,500-crore worth wakf land in Nashik was handed over to a Pune-based private developer.

“The 55 acres of land in Borwadi, Nashik was donated to Pudhari Masjid by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The land finds mention in the British gazette in 1927 and was included as wakf property in 2008. It is valued at Rs. 2,500 crore,” Khan said.

“The current CEO of Wakf Board is Naseema Bano Patel, a Class II revenue officer, who holds the post on temporary basis, first declined to transfer the land to the builder saying she is not a competent authority. However, last month she took the decision (of transfer of land),” Khan said.

He said facts and circumstances of her order should be investigated. “Who pressurised Patel to take the decision? Is this how a government, who speaks of transparency, functions?” Khan asked.

He also alleged that a trustee of another wakf property, Lal Shah Baba dargah at Lalbaug in Mumbai, is being threatened to withdraw his case in the high court and allow sale of flats in the building constructed on the dargah land, which is 99,000 sqm and valued at Rs. 2,000 crore.

“The trustee had challenged the construction in the wakf tribunal. The tribunals order was challenged in the high court. The trustee had filed a suit before the Wakf Tribunal to restrain the developer from further construction, changing the nature of wakf property and handing over possession of the flats constructed,” Khan said.

The tribunal had allowed the developer to continue with the construction, but restrained him from giving possession of flats, the Congress leader said.

“However, the developer challenged the order of the tribunal in the high court. The court set aside the tribunals order on the ground that it was not constituted as per the amended Wakf Act 1995. The trustee approached the Supreme Court, which said the Wakf Tribunal is competent to decide if the property is wakf or not,” he said.

“The trustee Karoon Sheikh was being pressurised to withdraw his case,” Khan alleged.

He said the Wakf Board, instead of protecting the property, has in writing submitted before the Tribunal, that it has no objection if the possession is given.

Khan said he wants judicial inquiry into both the cases.

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